Time and time again you’ve walked into your exam room, saw a tray of tools, sat back in the exam chair, and your dental team went to work. But have you ever wondered what all those tools really were? They may look intimidating with their long handles and sharp metal ends but have no fear, they are all a part of your regular dental cleaning.
So what are they?
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
Well, maybe not the wall. The mouth mirror is a small round mirror on a long handle. This allows your dentist to see places in your mouth that would be almost impossible without it! By allowing your dentist to see the surface of each tooth they can easily find tooth decay or other oral issues. The mirror also moves the tongue out of the way and can push the cheek out all without making the dentist use their hands inside your mouth.
Poke, Prod, Probe
The sickle probe, or sometimes referred to as the explorer, is a dental instrument with a long handle and a sharp curved end. This tool is used to explore the pockets between the teeth, test the hardness of the teeth (soft teeth can be a sign of a tooth decay), measure the gums to determine if you have periodontal disease, and scrape tartar and plaque from the teeth.
Step up to the Scale
We’re just joking, no scale here! The dental scaler is used for removing larger amounts of tartar or plaque from the teeth and gum line. This hand held tool may be used during a regular dental cleaning if your hygienist is not using a water pick. Scaling isn’t always super comfortable but it will help prevent further issues with periodontal disease. If you are experiencing a lot of pain or anxiety be sure to talk to your dentist about using a local anesthetic or a mild sedation option.
Hit the Eject Button
The saliva ejector or suction device is a long tube that is attached to a vacuum that suctions saliva from your mouth. This gives your dentist a dry surface to work with. If your dentist is using water during your procedure this tool is also used to suction up any excess water.
The sound of the dental drill might instantly send chills down your spine but there is no reason to fear this dental instrument. There is usually no pain when a local anesthetic is administered. If you are still experiencing pain during the drilling be sure to let your doctor know. If just the sound sends you into a panic discuss sedation options with your dentist before starting. They want you to be comfortable during your treatment. The drill is the most effective way to remove tooth decay before filling in a cavity. The drill uses water to keep the tooth at a cool temperate while it spins at over 250,000 rpms.
If you ever have questions during your appointment, make sure to ask! We love to educate our patients and want to make sure you are confortable during the duration of your visit to Stubbs Dental.